Historic ‘Alberta Meat Market’ sign donated to Galt Museum

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WATCH: Lethbridge's iconic neon Alberta Meat Market sign on 6 Avenue S. is no longer part of the street's decor. On Thursday, the sign was taken down and donated to the Galt Museum. Malika Karim reports – Nov 22, 2018

The Alberta Meat Market building on the corner of 5 Street and 6 Avenue South no longer has its iconic neon sign mounted on top.

On Thursday, the sign was taken down, in front of a crowd of people who all have an attachment to the building, including the original owners’ family.

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“Ever since I was a small child, my fathers and uncles owned it,” Ken Crighton said. Crighton’s family built the store in 1922 and the sign was installed in the 1950s.

It’s now being donated to the Galt Museum.

“We’re totally grateful,” CEO of Galt Museum and Archives, Susan Burrows-Johnson said. “I think in generations to come, we’ll look on this sign and certainly see aspects of our community in the 1950s, of our neighbourhoods.”

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The family of the man who created the sign, Allan Brown, say they’re excited to see it live on forever.

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“I think it’s great, you know that there’s someplace that it’s going to go,” Browns daughter, Deb Forsyth said. “That it’s not going to a dumpster where nobody understands. It’s not just a tribute to the family, but to the city to know the history of how things were built.”

“I’m sad it’s coming down but I’m happy that it’s going to be somewhere where it can be remembered,” Browns daughter, Alana Macfarlane said.

The building’s new owners were told they had to take the sign down because according to government legislation, their retail cannabis store isn’t allowed to have the name “Alberta” displayed on it.

“Green City Market is what we’re calling it,” Chris Sirias said. “We’re keeping the market in the name to honour the original building.”

Galt Museum officials say they’re in the process of deciding what to do with the sign, potentially refurbishing it and having it display the signs’ original neon lights.

“It’s possible it’s a curatorial discussion about whether you do that kind of refurbishment to an artifact,” Burrows-Johnson said. “But it is on the list of things to talk about.”

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The Galt says they’re hoping to have the sign in their “Neighbourhoods” exhibit, which is scheduled to debut next year.

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